The European Union (EU) has issued a directive to all of its 28 member states that forbids any form of cooperation, including funding, scholarships, and research grants, to any Israelis residing in areas that Israel acquired in 1967, meaning the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, means that any contract between EU member countries and Israel or and Israeli entity must include a clause that specifically asserts that those areas are not part of the state of Israel, a senior Israeli official told The Media Line.
“This has always been their position and they’re entitled to their position,” the official said on the condition of anonymity. “But now they’re trying to ram their position down our throats and that’s not acceptable to any Israeli government.”
He said Israeli government officials were particularly angry at not being given an opportunity to discuss the matter before the directive was issued.
The EU has always seen construction of Israeli communities in any and all of the areas acquired in 1967 as a violation of international law. Israel also clashes with the United States on this issue.
“In the past, the EU has tried to undermine the legitimacy of the entire state of Israel,” Avi Zimmerman, the Executive Director of the Ariel Development Fund told The Media Line. “Now they are dividing Israel and saying the only problem is east of the green line (the pre-1967 border) and the rest of Israel is OK.”
Any Israeli entity that wishes to apply for a “grant, prize or financial instrument” from the European Union must first submit a declaration stating that it has no direct or indirect links with the West Bank, the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, according to the new directives issued by the EU on Tuesday.
In a four-page document obtained by Haaretz, the EU details the full conditions under which further cooperation with Israeli entities can continue. The document is due to be released Friday and was drafted by the European Commission.
The EU makes clear that it “does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories… and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.”
The guidelines state that “only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out on Tuesday against a new European Union directive that bars its 28 member states from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Netanyahu said Israel wouldn’t accept dictates about its borders from any outside forces.
“As prime minister, I won’t allow hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and in Jerusalem — our united capital — to be harmed,” he said.
Later Tuesday, a bitter Bennett declared on Channel 2 that, “Catherine Ashton [the EU foreign policy chief] will not force us to hand over Jerusalem to our enemies.”
Bennett called the decision a “financial terror attack,” but downplayed its importance. “For 65 years, we have experienced embargoes and sanctions, and yet trade with Europe, China and the US has never been better,” he said.
Bennett added that the European move would likely mean a smaller role for Europe in the Israel-Palestinian peace process. “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ask to be involved in the process and at the same time take one-sided action.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority suffered a serious blow on Tuesday. But this time it wasn’t the Palestinians or the Israelis who derailed the process, but the US’s ostensible ally in the quest for peace, the European Union.
You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool Likudnik to understand that the clear and immediate effect of the EU’s new policy directive barring cooperation with Israeli entities over the pre-’67 line will be to prompt the hardening of the already inflexible Palestinian position regarding new talks.
Publication of the new directive coincided with Kerry’s latest visit to the region in his indefatigable bid to restart the talks. Some voices in Israel have hinted that the EU decision was taken in coordination with the US administration, and even with Kerry’s approval, with the goal of pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show greater conciliation in dealings with the Palestinians or at least to slow construction in the settlements. This notion seems fanciful.
Predictably, the Palestinians rushed to praise the EU move. The PA did so, and so too did Hanan Ashrawi, the representative of the PLO’s executive committee, who described the new directive as a qualitative development in the EU position. The Palestinians, said Ashrawi, have been demanding for a long time that the nations of the world translate into action their decisions on the issue of settlements, and make plain to Jerusalem that there is a price to pay for its activities. She also urged other nations to take similar steps.
Israel, for its part, has no reason to be too surprised by the EU move. The EU is simply punishing Israel’s decision-makers for having done everything possible to ignore Europe when it comes to the peace process.
A must-read article this month inEsquire Magazine, entitled “Why Are We So Obsessed with Israel? Hint: It’s Not Doing Any Good,” wisely examines the world’s obsession with the Jewish state. As columnist Stephen Marche wisely observes, “The obsession has gone on long enough.”
Marche rightfully notes an unfair obsession with Israel. Some pearls:
Israel has made it clear that it will deal with a nuclear Iran itself, and frankly, when all is said and done, Israel probably knows best. Its existence is at stake. As for the notion of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, there is no hope and therefore no pressing reason for intervention. So why bother? Why talk about it?
Now, with American Secretary of State John Kerry returning to the Middle East for his sixth trip in three months, and continued talk of the need to compromise and reach “peace,” this Public Relations Agency CEO wanted to offer John Kerry some tips on where he can better spend his time than on Israel.
Mr. Secretary Of State: The Jews aren’t the problem. If you feel the need to visit the Middle East, just around the corner from Israel is a place called Syria (S-Y-R-I-A). In Syria, over 100,000 people have been slaughtered in the last two years, including more than 5,000 children under the age of 16. What can be more important than helping these people who have been killed in what many have called the largest humanitarian crisis in the last 50 years? Imagine if 5 Arabs had been killed in Israel what noise would be made? So when it’s 100,000 killed a few miles from Israel, are they less important? Embarrassing to put focus anywhere else.
But, once you solve that issue, also just around the corner from Israel, you can deal with the Egyptian military who removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power, whom you and your boss, President Obama, helped get into office. Major problems in Egypt – and of course there are implications as a result with other traditional American allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, over the path forward in Egypt. That should take care of a few days, no Mr. Secretary?
Esquire noted regarding Kerry’s Israel visits, “There is nothing he could be doing that would be a bigger waste of his time, including windsurfing.” They are so right. Although once the avid-wind-surfer is done, he can further hone his yachting skills on the $7 million yacht he was on during the Egyptian coup. (Talk about a public relations disaster! Stay away from yachts when the world is on fire.)
Governments and the media have an unfair obsession with the Jewish state – and while it is simply gorgeous this time of year, there are much more important places for Kerry to focus. What better time than now, with Syria, Egypt and much of the Middle East in chaos, can there be to realize that maybe, just maybe the problem in the region isn’t with America’s closest ally, Israel but is elsewhere?
[Finally, we get a link which reveals the prophetic significance of the U.S. and its ever expanding spying capabilities and what has recently been revealed. This one is worth reading in full]